Hear from Harem, one of our brilliant fruit & veg traders on East Street Market:
“The Rose Vouchers are really helping families around here. The families I see are so happy to be spending their vouchers at the market, their money goes much further, if they went to the supermarket for their fruit and veg, what they want could be £2, but here at my stall, it’s 50p.
Poor families are always getting poor food, the Rose Vouchers mean they can have better. They have to spend the vouchers as it’s not money, so they don’t keep it in their pocket or spend it online, or at the supermarket, they use it for the fruit and veg. I don’t think they could have spent this amount on fruit and veg before.
I know the vouchers make the children more healthy because their family can buy more fruit and veg. They need the vitamins. When children see all the fruit and veg at my stall they want it, “Mummy I want the apple, banana..” Sometimes if I see they are getting upset, I just give them one for free.
Without the vouchers, they don’t come to the market. Now I have new customers who didn’t visit my stall before. I always have all the signs and posters up so families know they can spend their vouchers here.
I’m now taking Healthy Start Vouchers as well, so families can use them at my stall for fruit and veg too. It’s taking a little while for the customers to get to know about this, Rose Vouchers are more famous, so lots of people around here already know about them. During lockdown lots of people have come to spend their vouchers here otherwise be it would be quiet.
When I see customers have the Rose Vouchers I look them in the eye and give them a big smile and say, “Please please, we want the vouchers, what would you like?” I know sometimes people can be embarrassed to spend them when they don’t have the cash and others are using cash, they wait until they have gone. But I say come, I want them to know the vouchers are great, and I point to my posters about the vouchers and say we are proud to take them.
To me, the vouchers are the same as having cash. One really good thing is the money is paid to me the next day. Having a scanner to add my vouchers for payment makes my life so much easier too.
I’m very proud that I’m taking the vouchers, I never reject any Rose Vouchers or Healthy Start Vouchers. At the end of the day, I get my money, and you have to think about other people.”